What Is the Nuclear Option?

18 April, 2017, 02:50 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • AP Images

I asked Democrats to ignore those extreme voices and their attacks and join us instead in giving Gorsuch fair consideration and an up-or-down vote, as we did for the first-term Supreme Court nominees of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

"As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction as he continues to faithfully and vigorously defend our Constitution", The New York Times quoted the President as saying. President Trump is the first President to release a list of potential Supreme Court candidates, with the help of conservative legal experts, and let the American people decide if those candidates deserved to serve on the Court. "Judge Gorsuch is a strict constitutionalist who believes that a judge's personal policy preferences should not affect the outcome of a case".

Gorsuch now counts 55 supporters in the Senate: the 52 Republicans, along with three moderate Democrats from states that Trump won last November - Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

One Republican senator, Johnny Isakson (Ga.), did not vote because, as his office explained in a statement, he was "in Georgia today recovering from two back surgeries".

Then-US President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland previous year but the Republican-controlled Senate never gave Garland a hearing.

Further easing Gorsuch's transition is that his former boss, Justice Anthony Kennedy, remains on the court.

A private ceremony at the court, overseen by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., will be followed by an event at the White House. If they would not have employed this option then Gorsuch would have needed 60 votes to confirm his nomination.

McConnell himself told reporters Friday that "the most consequential decision I've ever been involved in was the decision to let the president being elected past year pick the Supreme Court nominee".

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The move ended the minority party's ability to filibuster appointments to the Supreme Court, which had never been exercised before Gorsuch's nomination. Do you fear the Senate will become more partisan?

Republicans had to change the senate rules to get this done.

Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell Law School, said Trump has reason for optimism if his travel ban gets considered by the high court, possibly later this year. If the justices are divided 4 to 4 in any of them, the most likely route to breaking a ties would be to schedule a new round of arguments, with Gorsuch participating.

The Supreme Court now has a full complement of nine judges for the first time since February 2016, when Justice Antonin Scalia died.

Gorsuch's confirmation is destined to shape the bench just as Trump is seeking approval of a key plank of his political platform: his executive order that halts entry to the United States from citizens of several Muslim-majority nations.

Senator Mike Enzi writes, "I congratulate Judge Neil Gorsuch on his confirmation to the highest court in the land".

That paved the way for Gorsuch's confirmation vote Friday, but left lawmakers of both parties bemoaning the undoing of comity in the Senate and warning that the 60-vote filibuster barrier on regular legislation, a key tool to force bipartisan cooperation, could be next to go.

He is expected to be confirmed on Friday and take his seat on the court later this month, in time to hear the final cases of the term.

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